Hans Rosling gave a brilliant statistical talk in 2006 and another in 2007 that both exploded a lot of myths about the first and third world. Conclusion: The first and third world that were very distinct in 1950 have converged in 2007 with the exception of Africa and a few other exceptionally poorly managed countries. The 2007 talk also features visual proof that the impossible really isn’t, when an academic statistician swallows a bayonet.
TED: Inspired talks by the world’s greatest thinkers and doers
Gapminder: Free software to help visualize human development